Perfectionism never delivers on its promise of perfection. It does not work.
Some psychologists use the phrase "creative hopelessness" to describe the moments when we realize that our psychological strategies are useless or counterproductive. To arrive at creative hopelessness, write down your reason for maintaining your perfectionism. It'll probably be something like this:
PERFECTIONIST CREDO If I try hard enough and I'm very careful and I follow all the rules, everything will go right and everyone will love me and I'll feel good all the time.
Now ask yourself the following question, made famous by our
good friend Dr. Phil: So, how's it working for you?
The most common response I
get when I ask this question, whether I'm addressing myself or a client, is
laughter. Releasing our doomed, anxious hope for perfection opens us to the joy
available in our actual lives—especially if we move on to the next
Oprah talks to Bono, the cooler-than-cool rocker, the legendary front man of U2, husband of 22 years, and father of four, who's singing his heart out to shine light on a crisis devastating a continent.
Declutter your life! Our March issue features a complete guide to streamlining your life, from Peter Walsh's 30-Day Organization Challenge to innovative ways to clear your mind. Plus, go behind the scenes of Oprah's yard sale and find out how you can improve the world with a simple "hello."